Socio-Environmental Synthesis Research Proposal Writing Workshop (Fall 2015)

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Jul 15, 2015

The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) is excited to offer training and research opportunities specially designed for graduate students interested in the complex interactions between human and natural systems. This program supports current PhD students in the natural, social, and computational sciences; humanities; communications; and business studies in their pursuit of socio-ecological synthesis research at our center in Annapolis, Maryland.

Tier 1: Training and Tier 2: Research (described below) are separate but related graduate research programs at SESYNC. This request primarily concerns Tier 1 but information on Tier 2 is given to provide full context.

The Research Proposal Writing Workshop, designed to prepare graduate students to apply for graduate-level research opportunities at SESYNC, will be held September 28–30, 2015. Participants should be in their first or second year of their PhD programs with an interest in socio-environmental synthesis.

Tier 1: Training

SESYNC is currently accepting applications from graduate students for a Socio-Environmental Synthesis Research Proposal Writing Workshop. The workshop will be held over 2½ days in Annapolis, Maryland, from September 28–30, 2015.

This workshop will provide graduate students with:

  • introductions to SESYNC, socio-environmental synthesis research, team science, bridging natural and social sciences, and actionable science;
  • networking opportunities to build professional relationships with other students, particularly those from different disciplines; and
  • training sessions on the methods, challenges, and strategies associated with writing successful proposals, especially those related to the type of work SESYNC supports.

Students will have the opportunity to draft proposal materials individually or collaboratively and gain feedback on what they’ve written. This workshop is designed to maximize support to graduate students intending to apply to the research opportunities described in Tier 2.

See below for information on eligibility criteria and required application materials. Travel to our facilities in Annapolis, Maryland, accommodations, and food expenses for workshop attendees will be provided by SESYNC in accordance with our travel policies. A draft agenda can be found here.

Tier 2: Research

SESYNC is preparing to announce a call for proposals for independent synthesis research by graduate students later in 2015. In these Graduate Pursuit projects, teams of 5–7 graduate students will execute synthesis research projects over a 12–15 month period. Projects will involve three team meetings at our center in Annapolis, Maryland. SESYNC will use a structured engagement process and provide a suite of support services throughout the training and research components of this graduate student opportunity to assist participants with the creation of new data products, particularly ones that address questions in new spatial or temporal contexts or scales. Each research team should produce final products that may include joint publications, conference presentations, and/or other scholarly output.

More information on our current Graduate Pursuit program and other graduate-student oriented activities can be found here. The next Graduate Pursuit program will invite students to propose synthesis research that fits into any of the thematic areas SESYNC supports. Please note that SESYNC does not fund the collection of original research.

Graduate students interested in the Graduate Pursuit research opportunity are highly encouraged, although not required, to first apply for the Socio-Environmental Synthesis Research Proposal Writing Workshop described in Tier 1.

Tier 1 Workshop Eligibility Criteria

  • Currently-enrolled first or second year PhD student in natural, social, or computational science; humanities; communications; or business studies. Examples of relevant disciplines include, but are not limited to: Sociology, Ecology, Statistics, Journalism, Anthropology, Entomology, Computer Science, Geography, Policy, Engineering, Psychology, Philosophy and Biology.
  • Interested in bridging and synthesizing the natural, social, and computational sciences.
  • Exhibits academic success in terms of grade point average and other activities.
  • Must commit to a 2½-day workshop in Annapolis, Maryland, from September 28–30, 2015.

Tier 1 Workshop Application Materials

  • Your proposal: One PDF document, containing:
    • Your CV (two pages maximum)
    • A statement (400 words maximum) on a critical question relevant to SESYNC’s thematic areas that can be addressed by socio-environmental synthesis. The statement must:
      • Explicitly identify sufficient existing data sources for the research question, and
      • Explain actionable outcomes in answering the research question.
  • A letter of recommendation from your doctoral advisor. This letter must be submitted directly by the recommender, separately from your application, via email by July 15, 2015 to:

Proposals will only be accepted online via the online webform at: Proposals and letters of recommendation must be received by July 15, 2015 at 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).


Please contact Katherine Johnson at:

Click here to read our blog on the Socio-Environmental Synthesis Research Proposal Writing Workshop hosted in January 2014.

The University of Maryland is an Equal Opportunity Employer
Minorities and Women Are Encouraged to Apply

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